People are dining out for fun, finds Q1 Diner Survey

People are dining out for fun again. That’s the key takeaway from OpenTable’s Q1 Diner Survey for 2022. It’s great news for restaurants, as diners are putting the last two years well and truly behind them to embrace the old normal.

OpenTable took the pulse of 951 people in the UK and Ireland to see how they feel about visiting restaurants this year. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the major findings from the survey, including diners’ thoughts about Covid variants and what they expect to see in restaurants for the year ahead.

Keep calm and dine on

Just as the world seemed to resemble some form of normality again, along came Omicron threatening to throw everything into chaos. It felt like two steps forward and one step back. Yet, the outcome wasn’t as bad as first feared, and people essentially kept calm and carried on.

Fifty-two per cent of diners said they’re neither more or less likely to dine out due to Covid and its Omicron variant. And with the UK removing all Covid restrictions, it looks like restaurants can finally focus on getting back to normal and welcoming even more guests through their doors.

Choice is key

There were some bright spots to come out of Covid, such as people being able to choose specific dining areas at restaurants. According to 88% of guests, booking a dining area is something they would like to remain in a post-Covid world.

Giving people more choice over where they sit and letting them customise their experience at your spot will increase its popularity and help get more people through the door. With OpenTable’s dining areas, you can let people choose their seating and give them more control.

Let the fun times begin

Diners seem to be all about the fun in 2022, with 88% of those surveyed saying their reasons for dining out are just for fun and the love of visiting restaurants. Eighty-two per cent also said they planned on eating out for special events and celebrations.

With this calendar year featuring more special events than usual – such as the Queen’s Jubilee and the World Cup – you can make the most of bookings and welcome guests looking to celebrate an important occasion. And for those visiting just for the fun of it, why not make them feel special with a dessert on the house or a free bottle of wine?

Keep them coming back for more

A renewed appetite for dining offers your spot the chance to build relationships and get regular guests through your doors. Eighty per cent of those surveyed said they wanted to be kept in the loop about special promotions, while 76% enjoy being welcomed back by name.

Looking at guest profiles can offer more insights into diners and help craft a personalised experience they won’t forget. In turn, you’ll gain their loyalty and build a base of regular guests who love eating at your place.

The year of fun

Diners have spoken, and it’s all about sampling great menus and enjoying experiences at restaurants this year. With the data from OpenTable’s Q1 Diner Survey, you can plan ahead and ensure your spot is the place where diners have all the fun in 2022.

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